Like a thief in the night : Agamben, Hobbes and the messianic transvaluation of security

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Prozorov , S 2017 , ' Like a thief in the night : Agamben, Hobbes and the messianic transvaluation of security ' , Security dialogue , vol. 48 , no. 6 , pp. 473-487 . https://doi.org/10.1177/0967010617728602

Title: Like a thief in the night : Agamben, Hobbes and the messianic transvaluation of security
Author: Prozorov, Sergei
Contributor organization: Department of Political and Economic Studies (2010-2017)
Political Science
Date: 2017-12
Language: eng
Number of pages: 15
Belongs to series: Security dialogue
ISSN: 0967-0106
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0967010617728602
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/231199
Abstract: The article addresses the reinterpretation of the problematic of security in the messianic turn in contemporary continental political thought. I focus on Giorgio Agamben's reinterpretation of Hobbes's Leviathan in Stasis, which restores an eschatological dimension to this foundational text of modern security politics. Hobbes's commonwealth has been traditionally read as a secularized version of the katechon, a force that restrains the state of nature while drawing on its resources. Instead, Agamben argues that for Hobbes, the state is neither the analogue of God's kingdom on earth nor the katechon that delays its arrival, but the profane power that will disappear when the kingdom of God is established on earth. It is thus in principle incapable of attaining the peace and security that it claims to provide, perpetually producing insecurity and violence in the guise of protection. In Agamben's reading, it is precisely this failure of the state's security apparatuses that assists the advent of the messianic event in an oblique fashion. The exposure of this failure does not aspire to the improvement of the apparatuses of security or resign us to inescapable insecurity but only affirms the need to render the present apparatuses inoperative, bringing forth a future without them.
Subject: Giorgio Agamben
Walter Benjamin
Thomas Hobbes
messianism
political theology
security
RESILIENCE
517 Political science
Peer reviewed: Yes
Rights: other
Usage restriction: openAccess
Self-archived version: acceptedVersion


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